We’re in San Diego, CA and Ric Flair is here to talk about being inducted into the Hall Of Fame but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to retire (he wasn’t kidding) but Elijah Burke interrupts to say he’s the new Flair. (yeah, David). Shelton Benjamin shows up to remind us all Burke & Benjamin are still a thing and to tell Flair he’s the NEW Gold Standard. It ends with Flair getting attacked until CM Punk makes the save. Basic set-up for tonight’s main event, highlight was some guy excited for Tim.
Kofi Kingston vs. Jason Riggs
Riggs has been part of OVW, FCW and HWA which I think makes him a Triple Crown Champion. Kofi uses his agility to dismantle his opponent until The Rigger gives him an armbar slam. Or whatever that’s called, where you put the arm behind the back then slam ’em, Arn Anderson used to do it. By the time I finish typing that out, Kofi gives Riggs a Jamaican Leg Sweep and finishes with the Jamaican Buzzsaw.
Winner: Kofi Kingston (something something Jamaican.)
Post-match Kofi gives an interview where he speaks in nothing but WWE language that can be summed up by this guy’s sign.
Raw Recap of the Hornswoggle vs. Vince McMahon cage match that was supposed to simply humiliate Hornswoggle…until JBL showed up and decided to kill him in front of his dad like in Search For Spock.
Even Vince apologises to Hornswoggle as he’s stretchered out (on a real stretcher, Vince resisted the urge to have him tied up to a cracker or something). Quite a dramatic and brutal angle for Horny.
The Miz vs. Colin Delaney
Colin is at Rey Ayanami-levels of bandage-wrapping so Miz beats the hell out of him with ease. Dreamer gets the crowd behind him which inspires Colin to start firing back for the first time but JoMo knocks him down. Ref ejects Morrison causing Delaney to get a near-fall from a schoolboy and the crowd were LOUD for that tease. Miz clotheslines the toilet paper right off Delaney and finishes with the Reality Check.
Winner: The Miz (Crowd were shitting for Colin’s first bit of offence and it was about time someone paid tribute to Mikey Whipwreck.)
Dreamer stops a further beating from The Miz but he’s in worse shape than Colin so Miz & Morrison beat up Dreamer then Delaney some more. He tells Colin that shouting the name of the company before a Tree of Woe does +10 damage though.
RAW RECAP (another one?) with Maria beating Beth Pheonix so she could pose for Playboy. Kelly Kelly explains what an honour it is to pose for Playboy and hopes she gets to have that honour one day. 2008 Divas Division was basically a Russ Meyer film.
Stevie Richards vs. James Curtis
They show clips of the sit-down interview Stevie did a few weeks ago about his neck surgeries so when James Curtis gives him a clothesline right to the neck, Stevie sells it like death. He recovers to nail a jawbreaker (which he shouldn’t try on someone smaller than himself, looks weird), a spinning neckbreaker and a StevieT.
Winner: Stevie Richards (They’re trying very hard to make Stevie sympathetic and the crowd is reacting so there’s hope yet. Hopefully he gets better opponents than James Curtis, God knows why he gets a name graphic and regular appearances on this show when he’s sloppier than a kebab parmo.)
RAW RECAP (another one???) reminding us of Big Show’s return at No Way Out and subsequent brawl with Floyd Mayweather. I had no idea who Floyd was in 2008 but now he’s the most famous boxer on the planet these are fun to watch with hindsight.
Ric Flair & CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke & Shelton Benjamin
I know we’re supposed to be excited for Flair but every time Punk & Burke wrestle I get another line on my forehead. Joey explains this being a tag team match, Flair’s career is not on the line. Oh man how great would it have been if Shelton Benjamin pinned Flair on a nothing-arse episode of ECW before Wrestlemania? Punks out-wrestle Burke for a bit before tagging in Flair who chops him daft. Burke gets the eye-poke but Flair throws him off the top-rope. Wait hang on. Flair goes to the top rope himself and here comes Shelton to throw him off but Flair kicks him away and FLAIR SUCCESSFULLY FLIES OFF THE TOP ROPE.
We go to break (during which Flair gave Billy Kidman a powerbomb and hit ten punches in the corner on Undertaker) and when we return Shelton gives Flair the back-body-drop-land-on-side. Flair escapes the bodyscissors (while shouting AHHH NOOO AHHHHH for good measure) and tags in CM Punk via Flair Flop.
Punk takes apart Benjamin and Burke until Burke distracts him and Punk gets some serious air off a back suplex. Burke stretches Punk and nails the Outer Limitz Elbow. Punk escapes via the power of crowd support but splashes Burke’s knees allowing Shelton to take over and completely flub a Sting Killer in the corner.
Flair salvages the moment by checking on Punk and they re-do the spot (wait isn’t this show taped?) with Punk escaping the powerbomb and tagging in Flair. Chops everywhere and Burke takes a back-drop-but-land-on-back-because-no-plane-crash but Shelton kicks Flair mid-suplex so Burke gets a two-count. Timing was a bit off there as the ref had to wait for Punk to clothesline Benjamin out the ring before counting the pin. Burke misses the Elijah Express in the corner so Flair locks in the Figure Four for the win as the crowd explodes.
Winners: Nigel Planer & Rik Mayall (I was ready to be a miserable cynic and type ”was nice seeing House Show Flair one more time” but the crowd was hot and Flair’s daftness warmed my heart. Plus he also looked like Flair ’98 compared to everyone else, which absolutely shouldn’t have been happening in 2008.)
Overall: The show is definitely on Battery Saver Mode during the build to Wrestlemania with three Raw Recaps and a Flair appearance. Oh and weirdly no mention of champ Chavo or No Way Out. Still, Delaney’s story is warming up slowly but surely and Stevie got mobbed on his way to the ring.
I’ve been Maffew and I’ve joined Cultaholics for the weekly video podcast so check that out if you have nothing better to do. I promise I’ll get better and insert BoD in-jokes as the weeks go on.